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Samsung SCH-A670 (Verizon Wireless) review: Samsung SCH-A670 (Verizon Wireless)

Samsung SCH-A670 (Verizon Wireless)

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Kent German
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Kent German

Senior Managing Editor / Features

Kent is a senior managing editor at CNET News. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he reviewed the first iPhone and has worked in both the London and San Francisco offices. When not working, he's planning his next vacation, walking his dog, or watching planes land at the airport (yes, really).

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4 min read

7.6

Samsung SCH-A670 (Verizon Wireless)

The Good

Integrated VGA camera; video recorder; compact, eye-catching style; spacious keypad.

The Bad

No analog roaming; can't send videos; no speakerphone; no Bluetooth or infrared port; limited memory.

The Bottom Line

The Samsung SCH-A670 introduces a nice change for Verizon customers but falls short on some key offerings.
Intro
If you're just getting used to camera phones, the mobile world has yet another surprise in store for you. Handsets with video capability have been rolling out from most of the big carriers this year, and with the introduction of the Samsung SCH-A670, Verizon Wireless joins the video family. Designed much like the Samsung SCH-A530 for Verizon, the flip phone has the signature Samsung styling, with a silver shell and rounded edges. Yet despite its attractive look, the handset disappointingly lacks a couple of key features. At $199.99, it's a fair price for a video phone, but you should be able to find it at a discount with a service agreement. Sleek and streamlined are two words that come to mind when you're looking at the Samsung SCH-A670. Like its cousin, the Samsung SCH-A530, the A670's compact dimensions (3.2 by 1.8 by 1.0 inches) enable it to fit in almost any pocket, while the lack of sharp corners makes it comfortable to hold while you're talking. At 3.8 ounces, it's on the heavy side, but its construction feels especially solid; that extra bulk isn't for naught. A small, 65,000-color external display shows the date, time, battery life, and signal strength, as well as caller ID and picture caller ID (where available). It's also smartly set in a mirrored frame. The screen is quite difficult to see when the backlighting is off, however, so be sure to adjust it to your liking. Immediately above the screen is the camera lens and the flash, while a small LED light sits on the top-right corner and blinks for incoming calls.
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Small cell: The Samsung SCH-A670 sports a slim profile.

Open the phone, and you're immediately drawn to the 65,000-color main display. Though it's bright and crisp, and the text font is large, the 1.75-inch-diagonal screen is difficult to see in direct sunlight. Available in two styles, the animated menus are easy to master via either the main controls or the volume rocker on the phone's left side. Set in a circular pattern, the navigation controls are spacious and easy to manipulate. A four-way toggle gives one-touch access to messaging, the Web browser, Verizon's Get It Now service, and one user-defined function, while two soft keys open the menu and the phone book. We also like the dedicated OK button set in the center of the toggle. And though there's no dedicated camera button inside the phone, there's a shutter key on the mobile's right side. Be advised, though; it's easy to activate the camera by mistake.

The kidney-shaped keypad buttons are well spaced for such a small handset. Though they are set flush with the surface of the phone, the controls are lit by a blue backlight and are a different color than the phone itself. As a result, misdials are rare.

The Samsung SCH-A670 comes with a solid set of features. There's a 500-name phone book with room in each entry for five phone numbers and an e-mail address. Contacts can also be paired with pictures and any of the 5 monophonic or 10 polyphonic ring tones for use with caller ID. Other offerings include a vibrate mode, a scheduler, text and multimedia messaging, a to-do list, a memo pad, one-minute voice memos, a countdown timer, an alarm clock, a world clock, a calculator, a WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser, and voice dialing. We were disappointed, however, that the A670 doesn't include a speakerphone, Bluetooth, or an infrared port.

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Light up: The Samsung SCH-A670 includes a small flash.

The VGA camera on the A670 takes pictures in three resolutions (640x480, 320x240, and 160x120) and offers six color tones, three quality settings, and 10 fun frames. You also can adjust the brightness setting or use the multishot feature and the self-timer, which can be set to 5 or 10 seconds. A tiny flash adds a minor amount of light, but its effect is hardly noticeable. We did have some gripes, however. The 4X zoom can be used at only the lowest resolution, and there's no silent option among the five shutter sounds. The video recorder shoots 12-second clips with sound, and you can manipulate your films with the zoom, brightness settings, fun frames, or color tones. Memory is somewhat limited--you can save up to 32 pictures but a mere two videos--and only pictures can be sent via multimedia messages.

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Smart shot: The A670 has decent photo quality.

Personalization options are few. A select number of wallpaper and sounds come with the phone, but you can download more, as well as ring tones, via Verizon's Get It Now service. There are no included games, but you can download BREW-enabled titles from Verizon.

We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900) Samsung SCH-A670 in San Francisco using Verizon Wireless. Call quality was excellent, with clear sound and no dropped calls. Callers could rarely tell we were using a cell phone.

Using the extended battery, we fell just short of the promised 5 hours of talk time and managed 10 days of standby time, 2 days short of the rated time of 12 days. The standard battery has a rated talk time of 2.9 hours and a promised standby time of 7 days. According to the FCC, the SCH-A670 has a digital SAR rating of 1.38 watts per kilogram.

7.6

Samsung SCH-A670 (Verizon Wireless)

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 8
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